Relapse Records: Revocation + Lord Dying + Exhumed

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Review by Jason Guest

Relapse Records LogoThree new releases from Relapse Records have found their way to Midlands Rocks for review:

  • Revocation – S/T
  • Lord Dying – Summon The Faithless
  • Exhumed – Necrocracy

Revocation – S/T

Revocation’s 2011 album, Chaos of Forms, was a mass of complex riffs, chords, rhythms, and time-signature shifts with the odd bit of jazz and even slap bass thrown into their technical death and thrash metal melting pot. Yep, it was a ferocious beast that was every bit as ambitious as it was intense. So what should we expect from the eponymous album number four? More of the same? Well, yes, frankly. The riffs are as brutal and merciless as they always have been, the lead work frantic and maniacal, the drumming ruthless, and the vocals are equally scathing and barbarous. But “more of the same” isn’t always bad (if only Metallica would learn this lesson, huh?) and Revocation have been at it long enough now to know who they are and how to express it musically.

While most of the album remains in the (very) high gears, ‘Fracked’ slows the tempo slightly and the band rely more on the groove for their attack and so this stands out as a highlight of the album, particularly as Brett Bamberger’s bass lends its weight to the track. And ‘Spastic’, with its mangled riffs, contorted rhythms, and near-haphazard structure, is a great instrumental. While this may be an album of “more of the same”, that “same” is of a pretty high standard. If a head-on collision between technical death and thrash sounds like it may appeal, then this is for you.

GD30OB2-N.cdr7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. The Hive
  2. Scattering The Flock
  3. Archfiend
  4. Numbing Agents
  5. Fracked
  6. The Gift You Gave
  7. Invidious
  8. Spastic
  9. Entombed By Wealth
  10. A Visitation

 


Lord Dying – Summon The Faithless

Portland’s Lord Dying are massive, huge, colossal. Their riffs are heavy. Very heavy. And though the album opens with all the might that a ten-ton, slowed-to-a-snail’s-pace stoner riff can muster, it’s not long before a hint of classic metal makes an appearance. Combined with the dense production and a brick wall sound, the album bites with all the ferocity of a disgruntled deity hell-bent on destruction of many a dissident. A fairly young band, there’s a distinct maturity to the sound that gives the album a sense of, for lack of a better description, authenticity, as if Lord Dying have spent years honing their craft playing in front of indifferent crowds as well as the most discerning of stoner/doom/sludge aficionados.

There’s little in the way of compromise here. Lord Dying grab hold of the listener, pin them to the wall, and let out one death-defyingly long scream brimming with brutality, suffering and torture. The title track bruises along, a hint of Slayer in the down-tempo, chugging riffs, and the icy riffs of ‘Greed Is Your Horse’ are augmented by some simple yet intriguing melodic bass work. ‘Descend Into External’ and ‘Dreams of Mercy’ both explore the dynamic aspect of the band, tempo and feel changes enhancing the already dense intensity, but it’s the mammoth ‘Perverse Osmosis’, with its off-time beats that almost collapse over each other, where Lord Dying come into their own. And with two more gargantuan gonad grinders – ‘Water Under A Burning Bridge’ and ‘What Is Not… Is’ – to finish it off, Summon The Faithless makes for a very impressive beginning for the band and carves out a very promising future.

Lord Dying - Summon The Faithless7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. In A Frightful State Of Gnawed Dismemberment
  2. Summoning The Faithless
  3. Greed Is Your Horse
  4. Descend Into External
  5. Dreams Of Mercy
  6. Perverse Osmosis
  7. Water Under A Burning Bridge
  8. What Is Not… Is

Exhumed – Necrocracy

2011’s All Guts, No Glory saw Exhumed return after five years with only a couple minor releases to their name in the interim. Here we are in 2013 (really; I checked) and, like Revocation, Matt Harvey and co. have delivered more of the same. And like Revocation, it’s the good type of more of the same. Of particular note are the guitar parts such as the harmony and lead work of ‘The Shape Of Deaths To Come’, the acoustic bridge of ‘Dysmorphic’, and the harmonising guitar and vocal that opens ‘Ravening’. Other than that it’s business as usual for Exhumed, which of course means that there’s been yet another line-up change. Drummer Michael Hamilton makes his recording debut, as does bassist Rob Babcock (aka “Bodybag Bob”), and Bud Burke, bassist with the band between 1999 and 2003, returns on guitar. Disgusting, stomach-churning, and sickening throughout, again Harvey and his horde continue to plough their way onward with not even the slightest notion of compromise. Every track gurgles, grunts and grinds its way through riff after rotting riff, gorging on gore, guts and nastiness to leave in their wake only the fetid stench of cadaver after cadaver. Catchy and infectious, Necrocracy is revolting.

Exhumed - Necrocracy7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Coins Upon The Eyes
  2. The Shape Of Deaths To Come
  3. Necrocracy
  4. Dysmorphic
  5. Sickened
  6. (So Passes) The Glory Of Death
  7. Ravening
  8. Carrion Call
  9. The Rotting